For its fifth consecutive match, the women’s tennis team refused to let a match point land in its opponent’s score.
Marking its eighth consecutive victory, Hillsdale College defeated 9 – 0 both Alderson Broaddus University (0 – 6, 0 – 2) on Saturday and Davis & Elkins College (4 – 8, 2 – 2) on Sunday in the Biermann Athletics Center. Ranked No. 47 nationally by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the Chargers are dominating their G‑MAC opponents during their first season in the conference. They are now 5 – 0 in the conference and 10 – 4 overall this season.
“It’s our year of success,” head coach Nikki Walbright said. “We are a strong team this year. We have really good tennis players. Everything came together in this recruiting cycle. It’s not a fluke or that they’re getting lucky. They’re working hard and getting the results we’re hoping for.”
Special recognition this week went to No. 1 singles player junior Halle Hyman, who the G‑MAC office recognized as the Player of the Week for the second week in a row and the third time this season. She has won her past five singles matches and eight straight doubles matches with freshman Hannah Cimpeanu.
“As winner of eight straight matches, Hillsdale continues to shine as one of the best teams in the Great Midwest,” Ben Schlesselman, G‑MAC commissioner for strategic communications, told The Collegian. “Under coach Walbright, the Chargers are in the mix for a conference title and have a top-50 national ranking. Hyman has the unenviable task of going up against each team’s No. 1 every match. She has won five straight in singles and is now 7 – 3 in her last 10, putting her firmly in the conversation for player of the year honors.”
In defeating Alderson Broaddus on Saturday, Hillsdale broke a modern record for the longest winning streak by a Charger women’s tennis team with seven wins.
Doubles teams set the pace for the weekends with a combined score of 24 – 3. Cimpeanu and Hyman teamed for a 8 – 2 victory on court one. At No. 2, junior Madeline Bissett and sophomore Kamryn Matthews won 8 – 1, and the combo of junior Julia Formentin and sophomore Katie Bell made its debut this season at No. 3 with a 8 – 0 shutout victory.
Hyman won her No. 1 singles match 6 – 3, 6 – 0. The Chargers blanked the other five courts, winning 6 – 0, 6 – 0. The single flights winners were Cimpeanu at No. 2, Bell at No. 3, Matthews at No. 4, Bissett at No. 5, and Formentin at No. 6.
On Sunday, the Chargers kept up their fight against the Davis & Elkins Senators.
In doubles, Cimpeanu and Hyman won 8 – 1 at No. 1. Bissett and Matthews shutout their opponents 8 – 0 at No. 2, and Bell and Formentin won 8 – 3 on court three.
In singles, Matthews at No. 4 had her fourth 6 – 0, 6 – 0 victory in her past five matches.
For her fourth consecutive win at No. 1 singles, Hyman won 6 – 2, 6 – 3. Cimpeanu finished 6 – 2, 6 – 0 on court two, and Bell at No. 3 ended her match 6 – 2, 6 – 2.
Bissett at No. 5 won 6 – 1, 6 – 1, and Formentin at No. 6 was victorious 6 – 1, 6 – 0.
While the women’s tennis team has swept its G‑MAC opponents thus far, next weekend could tell a different story. The team plays Walsh University at noon on Saturday and the University of Findlay at 1 p.m. on Sunday at home. Like Hillsdale, the teams came from the GLIAC, and Walbright said they will be stronger competition.
“We’re ready for it,” she said, “but we’ll be challenged more than we have so far.”
The team is continuing to work on its doubles play and build up its endurance with footwork drills and playing plenty of points to last the two days of tough tennis, Walbright said. She added that she expects Hillsdale will face the teams again the following weekend at the G‑MAC tournament.
Should Hillsdale win and stay ranked in the top seven teams regionally (right now, it’s No. 6), then it will receive an automatic bid for the NCAA Division II tournament, which would be a first for the program.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Walbright said. “We’re trying not to be overconfident. We just want to be successful at each match as they come.”